Common Mistakes Fathers make in Divorce

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Common Mistakes Fathers make in Divorce

Lots of men are angry and hurt when faced with divorce papers. Due to these emotions, fathers make common mistakes in the divorce process and end up hurting their wallets, their children, even themselves. With a little forethought and preparation you can avoid these hazards and help make the transition as smooth as possible for you and your children.

Lots of guys for instance use litigation as a force for revenge. They drive up the cost as a tactic to try to make their ex crack. Everyone in the process suffers because of it and you come out looking like the bad guy. Some states even have laws against this. If you purposely make moves in order to drive up the cost you could be hit with a pretty hefty fine. Instead, think of your overall goals. Don’t be led astray by an attorney who would want to take part in such practices. Do your research and pick an attorney that’s right for you. Keep your emotions in check and don’t use the legal process as a vindictive device, or a way to throw a temper tantrum.

Another problem lots of men make is financially stretching themselves too thin. There is alimony, child support, and your own expenses. You could easily work yourself to death and not get anywhere in the process. Make sure you plan out your financial goals and strategy with an attorney, perhaps even an accountant. Having a financial game plan in place will help you manage your life properly. You’ll also want to consult with an attorney concerning your goals in regards to your children. Do you want joint custody, visitation or what? Know what you are aiming for, what is reasonable, what emotional state your ex is in and what she will likely go for. The most important thing of course is the children. But a lot of couples get caught in trying to hurt one another and the kids get caught in the middle.

That said, it’s also important not to give in too much and miss out on having the kids in your life. Children need love, support and attention from both parents regularly. Don’t compromise them out of your life. Do not use the children as leverage in any way. Not only is this despicable it will hurt your relationship with them. Lastly, don’t let child support payments pile up unattended. Or else, with penalties and fees, you’ll soon find yourself in the poor house. For more advice read, Fathers’ Rights: Hard-Hitting and Fair Advice for Every Father Involved in a Custody Dispute by Jeffery M. Leving and Kenneth A. Dachman, Ph.D.

Why Staying Together for the Kids is a Bad Idea

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Why Staying Together for the Kids is a Bad Idea

Trying to stick together for the children, even after you’ve done everything possible to resurrect your marriage, usually just makes things worse. Even when the children are shielded from the arguments, they can sense the hostility like a tense fog over the house. Some kids even report feeling relieved when hearing of their parent’s divorce, the opposite of what we picture would happen, begging them to stay together. But having things appear to be working and having them actually working are two different things. You can’t hide the truth from them. They live there, too. And they know, already. Kids have an incredible beat on what’s happening with their parents. It’s some sort of natural inclination. But to deny it is to insult their intelligence. Children also model their romantic relationships after their parents. If you stay together without any longer feeling love, commitment or any tender feelings at all towards one another, what kind of message are you sending them? Will they do the same in their future marriages or relationships? Don’t you want them to be happy and follow that happiness, wherever it may lead? If you stick together, your sacrifice is wasted. In fact, it is doing more harm than good.

There are lots of considerations when getting a divorce. There is the financial burden, which everyone will endure, including the children. It can be hard in a variety of ways. There is telling them, the possibility of moving and putting them in a new school, custody battles, and fights over asset allocation, child support and alimony. The average divorce lasts somewhere in the vicinity of six months. The most hotly debated and contentious can take years. For those in no financial condition to divorce, a separation until the means for a simple divorce can be arranged may be the best answer.  Some worry about the stigma. But today, divorce is so common the stigma has virtually evaporated. What generally happens when it is all over, or at least when a new pattern settles in, is things get better. Without living in a contentious household, the kids feel more secure. They will relax and be themselves. More focus will now be placed on them instead of on the elephant in the room. Parents can also feel that they are being upfront with their children, and the kids won’t feel lied to. There are also lots of life lessons being portrayed that can carry over into their love lives, once they grow up. Children learn to have realistic expectations for relationships, love and marriage. Too many people today have some sort of Disneyesque vision, skewing their expectations. They just are not realistic when it comes to love and relationships in the real world. But children of divorce see past all that. They are also less likely to jump into a committed relationship without thinking about it, and who with.

A divorce helps children see their parents as people. They see their parents in many different roles; sometimes as a worker, of course as a parent, a friend, child, and a sibling and when they start dating again, as a partner to someone else. In other words, the kids don’t take their vision of their parents for granted. They also recognize more closely that their parents are flawed, or to put it a better way, human. But children who see their parent’s marriage as an ideal to be lived up to, suddenly cannot choose what their heart wants. They keep chasing an ideal that they will never catch instead of the reality of love that is before them. Everyone has to find someone right for them. And those two people have to develop a relationship that works for their particular personalities. But when we try to bend a relationship to match some unrealistic ideal, things are bound to run in to trouble.

Children can see their parents more as people who have hopes, dreams, flaws and regrets. They also gather insight into how bad relationships operate and how good relationships work. Usually, parents get into other long-term relationships after divorce, or get remarried. So instead of focusing on having children coming from a “broken home,” realize that if your house is full of contention, either explicit or implicit, it is affecting the children far more negatively than you think. It’s best instead to have the courage to move on with your life, embrace who you are and after you heal, allow yourself to love again. These are great lessons to pass onto your children. They will learn to be brave, and go forth in the world to find the love that they deserve, the kind that is right for them. To learn how to operate and move forward when you have kids and a separation is looming read, The Truth About Children and Divorce: Dealing with the Emotions So You and Your Children Can Thrive by Robert Emery.

Alimony Reform Bill Passes NJ Assembly

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Alimony Reform Bill Passes NJ Assembly

Assemblyman Charles Mainor (D-Hudson) introduced the alimony reform bill which recently saw passage in New Jersey’s state assembly. New Jersey’s alimony law has been called “ancient” and it seems this issue has gained momentum as the legislature voted 77-0 for the bill, one legislator abstained. The bill calls for changes in the system including striking the term “permanent alimony” from the law books. Lawmakers said these laws fit the situation decades ago when only one spouse was the household breadwinner, but today with both spouses generally working the laws seemed archaic. Mainor said in an Assembly Judiciary Committee meeting the morning the bill passed the legislative body, “We looked at the payers and we looked at the payees, and we realized that the current alimony laws are ancient and had to be brought up to 2014.” Mainor said he had been working on this issue which had been debated back and forth for about two and a half years. This bill applies mostly to divorces that will take place. One place it can touch previous divorces is in the realm of “rebuttable presumption” which could see payments cease when the payer reaches “full retirement age.” This was set at the federal retirement age which today is 67 years of age. If the payer reaches 67 and still hasn’t retired the bill says that a judge can “establish the conditions under which the modification or termination of alimony will be effective.” If the person wants to retire beforehand they have to prove that stopping alimony was “reasonable and in good faith.”

The bill makes other changes to New Jersey’s alimony laws. For marriages that are to end in divorce, if the union lasted less than 20 years, alimony payments cannot exceed the length of the marriage, unless there are “exceptional circumstances.” Under current law, when the person receiving alimony payments remarries, the payments end. Under the proposed bill, if the person receiving payment starts cohabitating with someone new alimony payments could be suspended or cease. Cohabitation in the bill is defined as, “mutually supportive, intimate personal relationship in which a couple has undertaken duties and privileges that are commonly associated with marriage or civil union.” If the payer has not been working for 90 days or more the judge can suspend alimony payments. Lawmakers changed the term “permanent alimony” which was thought to be misleading and instead replaced it with “open durational alimony.” New Jersey State Bar Association which supports this bill said this legislation was based off of “evolving case law,” as it was a bunch of different ideas taken from previous debates and proposed bills. President of the association Paris Eliades said, “The New Jersey State Bar Association considers it among our highest priorities to ensure that any legislation touching upon alimony is just and fair to all.”

Eliades went on to say, “Through the persistence, patience and dedicated efforts of the officers of the NJSBA Family Law Executive Committee we have helped to guide our legislative leadership to achieve meaningful and balanced alimony reform.” 52 year old service engineer and New Jersey resident Erich Truax complained that the bill would do little to alleviate the crushing weight of his alimony and child support payments. He said 50% of his salary goes to his ex-spouse. A previous version of the bill would include marriages that took place before 2002 and had been husband and wife for 17 years. But these provisions never made it to the final bill. New Jersey Alimony Reform lobbyist Michael Turner said of the bill, “best outcome that could be achieved for two-and-a-half years effort,” but insists more should be done. He went on to say, “Primarily, the bill benefits future alimony payers. Unfortunately, the bill does little for current alimony payers, which is unfortunate.” Turner went on to say, “This effort was started by current alimony payers and their supporters who brought attention to the unfair laws, and who are the victims of the unfair laws.” Still, the bill has the state Senate and Governor Christie’s desk to cross before it becomes law. For more on alimony law and how it has gone awry read, The Marriage Buyout: The Troubled Trajectory of U.S. Alimony Law (Families, Law, and Society) by Cynthia Lee Starnes.

10 Ways Long Term Separations Can Hurt Wives Financially

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10 Ways Long Term Separations Can Hurt Wives Financially

Long term separations can put you in a kind of limbo. For whatever reason either both parties are loath to say goodbye to the marriage but can’t seem to work out their differences or the financial and emotional burden of a divorce is too much for either party to handle right now. Whatever the reason if you find yourself in this kind of situation you aren’t alone. Long-term separations exist for many would-be couples right now. This phenomenon increased significantly during the Great Recession as parties who wanted to divorce were averse to doing so due to financial difficulty or even unemployment on the part of one or both parties. Some people take a weekend away after a heated argument or a few months away to get some distance and gain some perspective on a marriage. But these are considered short term separations. These can last a year, two years or more.  In the short term it can make a lot of sense in that you two are incompatible but by living your separate lives without officially divorcing you avoid the heart ache, the venom that might arise, and the draining emotional toll that a divorce can have on you, and your soon-to-be former spouse. Every decision however has a positive and negative side. The positive you have missed is called an opportunity cost in economics. In this situation waiting too long could have an adverse effect on your pocketbook.  How exactly you might ask? Here are 10 ways long term separations can hurt wives financially.

Number one, you can’t give any input as to how your assets are being allocated by your husband. How is your husband currently managing the finances? Certainly when a divorce settlement occurs you want to be able to receive that which you are entitled. But when living apart you don’t know how your husband is saving, or spending, racking up debt or taking good care of the bills, managing investments, making them, or selling them off. In a Community Property state if your husband is acquiring more debt you in turn are also acquiring it. Check into what kind of state you live in. if it is an Equitable Distribution state the only time you have to worry about this phenomenon is with joint credit cards or any other joint debt. Find out which type of state you are in. Second, your husband may use this time to hide financial assets so they don’t become a part of some future divorce settlement. Third, if your husband loses his job or his financial situation does a 180 your settlement may decrease significantly from what you may have originally acquired. Besides becoming unemployed he may be injured and go on disability. Perhaps he got into legal trouble and so there goes your savings. Fourth, your husband could move to another state, or even another country. Laws from one state to another and one country to another in regard to divorce vary radically, particularly when it comes to alimony. It usually only takes six months to a year to establish residency somewhere else. Moving to another country could make things far worse for your lawyer, complicating things further.

Fifth, the laws governing alimony could change in the state in which you live. Look into your own state law and any bills coming up mentioning alimony reform, for these have been changing the state of alimony and for the most part negatively impact the former wife in a financial sense. Sixth, your future former husband could meet someone. He may use those assets such as your joint savings to buy his new girlfriend lavish gifts, take her on vacations, to fancy restaurants and so on. He may even support her. Seventh, you may have to diminish your living standards during a long separation. Legally, you may have trouble acquiring alimony at the lifestyle which you were previously accustomed to. If you are receiving far less now to live on your soon-to-be ex could say that you don’t need that much since you’ve been living on such a prolonged period on a far more meager income. Eighth, if your husband runs into financial trouble of the legal kind, you could be on the hook for it too. Though you may feel completely different about him since the time you both said, “I do” in the eyes of the law you are still husband and wife. If your husband cheats on his taxes, is sued, or does some other kind of financial shenanigans those assets, though you feel entitled to your fair share, may go to pay legal bills, fines and more. Ninth, without a separation agreement if you depend on your husband to support you, there’s no legal protection against him cutting you off. Number ten, staying separated long term and floating in that limbo makes it hard to move on with the rest of your life. For more pick up a copy of, On Your Own Again: The Down-to-Earth Guide to Getting Through a Divorce or Separation and Getting on with Your Life by Keith Anderson and Roy Macskimming.

10 Steps to Divorcing your Wife

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Divorce can be so painful emotionally. Who did what to who is often dragged out between husband and wife while the whole mess plays out. Besides custody the biggest issue of contention is splitting up the assets. Of course both parties’ assets should be included in the negotiations. Oftentimes however one or both parties is ignorant about the household finances. At other times one may be hiding assets from the other but where to look remains a mystery. If your wife is working but the squeeze was put on her salary, or you don’t know what the house is worth due to the Great Recession, don’t worry, you are not alone. There are ways to figure this out, too. A divorce may be protracted and even excruciating but the good news is it’s only a temporary bump on the road of life. There is light at the end of the tunnel. You will certainly be happy again. Though there is a lot of stress, anguish, and sometimes other emotions like guilt, sadness and regret, pretty soon you’ll have all of this behind you. You just have to find out how to manage the situation as well as you can, take breaks for your mental health, manage the situation wisely and keep your head on straight. If you can do that you’ll get through this thing smashingly. Here are 10 steps to divorcing your wife. Step 1: If you’ve been handing your paycheck over to your wife for years and don’t know where the money is going, it behooves you to do so now. Find out everything you can about the finances. Do you have a retirement plan, a mortgage, credit card bills, investments, tax returns and copies of the trust and wills? If not, you’d better get on that. Get as many financial papers together as you can and get to know intimately your financial situation. Ignorance is not bliss and what you don’t know can be used against you, or hidden from you.

Step 2: Take a look into all of your spouse’s affairs. You’ll want to know as much as you can to relate back to your lawyer. Step 3: Protect yourself. Are you the victim of “sudden divorce syndrome?” If so, your wife may have a plan on how she’s going to keep afloat. Make sure to put some money aside just in case. You don’t want to be left in the dark while she cleans out the joint bank account. Step 4: Now it’s time to open a separate credit card in your name only. Step 5: Freeze joint credit cards and any open a home equity line so your wife doesn’t run up the bills. While you two are still legally married your credit can be affected by whatever she is spending. Cancel the joint bank account, too. You don’t want to be left without any cash or credit to your name. If you two are on decent terms you can work this out together, cancelling the cards and splitting the joint account amicably. If not you can take your share out of the joint account and cancel the cards altogether. Step 6: Do you have any savings you brought with you to the marriage, an inheritance or any other personal savings? Make sure to take custody of these immediately. Depending upon what state you live in, if you don’t secure it, it could be split during the settlement.

Step 7: Do you each have retirement plans? If so, both can come up in the divorce settlement. If you are cordial, perhaps this is something to be worked out on your own. If not so cordial, secure your retirement plan. If you have an IRA with a written agreement, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO will be required before you can touch any of that money. For a traditional pension a financial professional will have to assess it. Step 8: Look at the alimony situation. Does your wife work? If she has a low salary or doesn’t acquire one at all you may be paying alimony. But you won’t have to supply her lifestyle with cash forever. Spouses are expected to go out and get jobs these days. Step 9: If your wife was working and you weren’t but you need the health insurance, remember that you have sixty days to sign up for it. Step 10: Have a financial adviser help you plan out your finances from the start. Select a good lawyer with a good reputation and lots of experience. Keep talking to your friends and family. Learn to get things off your chest. Don’t get stuck on the little things; look at the big picture. Heal your heart and when you’re ready look for someone to love again. For more, be sure to read Divorce – Get Your Life Back In 30 Days After A Divorce Or Break Up – For Men by Francisco Bujan.